Police & Fire

School board holds light October meeting

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

The Arkadelphia Board of Education held a light meeting Tuesday, discussing asbestos abatement at the former Peake Elementary School campus and electing members to represent the board at the state level.

Nabholz Construction Services is providing the asbestos abatement and demolition of the Pine Street building, which will be rebuilt as a K-4 campus and retain its name. The district is spending $64,135 on asbestos removal, plus another $19,000 on general costs such as equipment, truck and mileage expenses and temporary office facilities.

Board president Blake Bell applauded what he called a good price for asbestos abatement, noting that generally runs upwards to half a million dollars on projects of similar scope.

In other business, the board elected Gina White as its legislative liaison. White, an attorney, will keep in touch with state-level legislators as they consider laws relating to education and their effect on the school district. Bell was elected as the board’s delegate for the Arkansas School Board Association.


Following a 30-minute executive session, the board reconvened in public to accept the following personnel recommendations:

Maria Guadalupe Hoffman, special education paraprofessional, Peake

Sharonda Bell, paraprofessional, Goza

Tammy Barger, business manager, administration

Krystal McLane, from payroll clerk to business manager

Other reports

Superintendent Nikki Thomas reported that enrollment has increased to 1,817 students, up from the 1,808 she reported a month ago.

Thomas also reported there are currently no known Covid cases in the school district, but anticipated a “tough” flu season.

The Alternative Learning Environment classroom is “close to capacity” with 29 seats filled. Board member Kenneth Harris inquired about the racial breakdown of those figures, but Thomas did not have those figures on hand.

In looking over the district’s ACT Aspire test scores, White commented on how the district scored lower than the state average in math testing, noting a dip among seventh graders and up.

Bell reported that a kickoff event for the revamped Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program saw a large turnout of more than 300 male father figures in attendance.